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You came to the wrong neighbourhood…..

January 13th, 2010 No comments

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The Dunning–Kruger effect, and it explains a lot……

December 28th, 2009 No comments

The definition of the Dunning-Kruger effect, aken from Wikipedia:

…is a cognitive bias in which “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it”…

Which can be summarised as:

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

This explains a lot, don’t you think?

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Homeopathy is an ancient, pre-scientific and absurd pseudoscience

December 20th, 2009 No comments

Homeopathy is an ancient, pre-scientific and absurd pseudoscience. Yet it persists today as an accepted complementary medicine, largely because people don’t know what it is.

The 10:23 Campaign aims to show the public what homeopathy is and explain how we know it doesn’t work.

Click here to find out more.

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The Apollo Hoax Promoters

August 15th, 2009 No comments

The most interesting, not to mention entertaining, proponents of the Apollo Hoax theory are:

  1. Bill Kaysing – the “father” of the Apollo hoax theory.
  2. Ralph Rene – conspiracy theorist and ardent hoax supporter.
  3. David Percy and Mary Bennet
  4. Marcus Allen
  5. Bart Sibrel – conspiracy theorist, ardent hoax supporter and film maker. He was famously punched by Buzz Aldrin after accusing the astronaut as being “a coward, a liar and a thief” – see the youtube video here.
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What the hell…..?

Whilst wandering around t’internet I came across this google advert:

google advert

Why?

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A quiet moment…

Syd (left) and Prince, spend a moment of quiet contemplation.

Syd (left) and Prince, spend a moment of quiet contemplation.

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Syntax highlighter plugin

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Evil Science Lives Again

After experiencing a number of technical difficulties and moving internet hosting companies (from the mediocre Web-Mania to the splendid Storm Internet), Evil Science now stands proud, and is ready to inflict yet more idle musings of it’s dilatante owner on the internet.

You have been warned.

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Applescript code to extract track number from file name and apply it to the track number field.

February 22nd, 2009 No comments

Here’s some Applescript I’ve written. If you have a bunch of MP3s whose filename begins with the track number, but they don’t have a track number specified, this script will automatically add a track number to those MP3 using the digits from the file name.

N.B. This code assumes the number is two digits, padded with a leading zero when less than 10..

–Start copying here

tell application "iTunes"
if selection is not {} then
set selected_tracks to selection

--for each track selected
repeat with this_track in selected_tracks
try

--get the trackname, which contains the path and name
set theTrackName to (the location of this_track)

--get just the file name
tell application "Finder" to set file_name to (name of theTrackName)

--the first two chars of the track name are the track number
set trackno to ((characters 1 through 2 of file_name) as text)

set track number of this_track to trackno

end try
end repeat
else
display dialog "Select some tracks first." buttons {"Cancel"} default button 1
end if
end tell

–end copying

All you need to do is open up iTunes, select the tracks you want to number and run the above script in Script Editor.

Also, as I’m new to the Apple Mac (I’m a professional Windows developer) the above code is probably not as efficient as it could be. So, all you Mac user’s out there please feel free to correct me, hurl abuse etc etc

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Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions

January 23rd, 2009 No comments

Words have precise meanings in science. For example, ‘theory’, ‘law’, and ‘hypothesis’ don’t all mean the same thing. Outside of science, you might say something is ‘just a theory’, meaning it’s supposition that may or may not be true. In science, a theory is an explanation that generally is accepted to be true. Here’s a closer look at these important, commonly misused terms. Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation. Usually, a hypothesis can be supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be disproven, but not proven to be true.

Example: If you see no difference in the cleaning ability of various laundry detergents, you might hypothesize that cleaning effectiveness is not affected by which detergent you use. You can see this hypothesis can be disproven if a stain is removed by one detergent and not another. On the other hand, you cannot prove the hypothesis. Even if you never see a difference in the cleanliness of your clothes after trying a thousand detergents, there might be one you haven’t tried that could be different.

Theory

A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it’s an accepted hypothesis.

Example: It is known that on June 30, 1908 in Tunguska, Siberia, there was an explosion equivalent to the detonation of about 15 million tons of TNT. Many hypotheses have been proposed for what caused the explosion. It is theorized that the explosion was caused by a natural extraterrestrial phenomenon, and was not caused by man. Is this theory a fact? No. The event is a recorded fact. Is this this theory generally accepted to be true, based on evidence to-date? Yes. Can this theory be shown to be false and be discarded? Yes.

Law

A law generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them. One way to tell a law and a theory apart is to ask if the description gives you a means to explain ‘why’.

Example: Consider Newton’s Law of Gravity. Newton could use this law to predict the behavior of a dropped object, but he couldn’t explain why it happened.

As you can see, there is no ‘proof’ or absolute ‘truth’ in science. The closest we get are facts, which are indisputable observations. Note, however, if you define proof as arriving at a logical conclusion, based on the evidence, then there is ‘proof’ in science. I work under the definition that to prove something implies it can never be wrong, which is different. If you’re asked to define hypothesis, theory, and law, keep in mind the definitions of proof and of these words can vary slightly depending on the scientific discipline. What is important is to realize they don’t all mean the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably.

Taken from Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions

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